Archive for November, 2007

Casinos, Not, Podcast

CasinoFreeMass spokeswoman Laura Everett joined us. Her group has seven detailed reasons for why it opposes casinos here.

All three of us at Left Ahead! have previously come out agreeing that casinos are no solution to the commonwealth’s economic problems.

She is not a bluenose. Listen in to hear a cogent set of arguments.

Posts of the Week

Over at Political Cortex, Bill Hare is ranting righteously and got Mike’s attention with his post Is Treason an Impeachable Offense? Hare has lost all patience with Democratic Congressional titular leaders who won’t confront the Executive Branch. As his post puts it:

Okay, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, you have spent all this time demeaning the idea of impeaching George W. Bush and Dick Cheney as a form of absurd distraction…Should you now consider the relevance of impeachment in view of Scott McClellan’s latest comments and what they, along with other available evidence, portend for the future of this nation?

He catalogs many deaths and violations of U.S. and International law, and asks, “So what do we do now, Reid and Pelosi? Do we let treason pass as well or do we finally take action as should have been done long ago against the Cheney-Bush neoconservative reign of terror that has disrupted America while the Constitution was replaced with the “I am the state” dictate delivered by Napoleon Bonaparte?”

Ryan’s Blog ‘o the Week questions just why 2nd-in-shadow-command Senator Trent Lott resigned. Was it because he wanted to get out now, so he can become a lobbyist before new rules kick in that would add years to his wait, or is it because of his alleged Teg-Haggard-type problem? Of course, take everything with a grain of salt, but about them emails.

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Campaign School Podcast

Ryan went to a two-day session on how to run a progressive candidate’s campaign. It delivered him savvier and more hopeful — that we can replace some of the more conservative legislators and other officials with those ready to improve the commonwealth.

We touched on term limits too. Boston City Councilor John Tobin, in particular, will propose limits for the city’s mayor and councilors. That promises to make some real fireworks. Locals are quick to say that Mayor Tom Menino (Boston’s longest tenured one) wants his office for life. Yet, many city councilors stay decades and long beyond their effectiveness and freshness dates.

Posts of the Week

Mike was delighted to see that over at Pie and Coffee, Mike Benedetti found a talking (but anonymously) juror in the Larry Cirginano trial. It answered numerous of my questions and is a fascinating view into criminal-trial jurors. If you wonder what was this jury thinking when it let him walk on such obvious guilt, wonder no more.

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Ryan’s Best of Left Ahead!

While it’s a daunting task to pick my favorite LeftAhead Podcasts so far, I think it’s well past time to do it. So, without further ado, if anyone wants to listen in on some of our best, here’s Ryan’s Five Favorite LeftAhead Podcasts.

5. The Fifth Congressional Race Election Day. Lynne called in from Niki Tsongas’s HQ, while in other news, Mike called in to report on the Larry Cirignano trial. Our first live-from-the-field reports ever!

4. Dick Howe, blogger extrordiniare, joins the usual cast to talk about the 5th right around the primary. Amazingly – or not so – Dick really hit the mark, the race was far closer than I would have ever guessed.

3. Tom Lang of Know Thy Neighbor hops on to chat up the state of affairs for the glbt population in Massachusetts. We also had some particularly good conversation about the Presidential hopefuls on their glbt bonafides, or lack thereof.

2. MassEquality’s Political Director Marc Solomon comes on to talk all about our months-long victory parade, what MassEquality was possibly planning on the future (since decided: they’ll be expanding their original mission) and even on national glbt-relevant issues.

1. Not only did Massachusetts just win on marriage equality, but State Representative Jamie Eldridge joined the cast 39 minutes in for a long chat all about it, progressive politics and the race he was running for the 5th CD.

Listeners should check out the archive for all of our past episodes – and use the comments to talk about all their different favorites.

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Sorting Sundries Podcast

Mike and Ryan hit up several key topics this week from a speaking gig Ryan had with the folks at Casino Free Massachusetts in New Bedford earlier in the week, to the whole situation with the crime syndicate – I mean police force – in Boston. Is it possible to have a city that can trust its police to keep the streets safe, when there’s problems with the police protecting the cocaine ring? The city’s police force has to keep its legitimacy intact if it wants to keep the streets safe, otherwise it becomes much harder to do the kinds of community outreach that lead to safer cities in the past. Also discussed on the show: are Speaker DiMasi and Governor Patrick finally starting to get along? And what was with MassResistance and especially Amy Contrada?

Posts of the Week

Ryan’s Blog ‘o the Week comes from blogger Scarecrow, a Massachusetts native, over at FireDogLake. The President recently chastized Democrats for being like, and I paraphrase here, ‘teenagers who got their hands on a credit card.’ The Democrats just passed a major $606 billion-dollar health care, education and job training bill, but it was actually a good and efficient bill – Bush only actually complained about 10 billion of the spending, versus the other 596, yet he still vetoed. Scarecrow thinks Bush calling Democrats spend thrifts is absurd, especially given this President’s continually loose wallet surrounding the war in Iraq. Here’s a brief snippet:

To date, Bush has asked Congress to approve over $800 billion for US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan but never once suggested raising taxes to pay for those authorizations. And there is no end in sight. The White House has yet to provide a credible rebuttal to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office report that predicted the likely costs of America’s two wars, including the interest to borrow the money instead of raising taxes to pay for them, would approach $2.4 trillion by 2017 (h/t TPM). Even that estimate probably fails to account for long-run health care costs for returning soldiers, costs we are only beginning to understand.

Mike figuratively traveled to Maine for a post from White Noise Insanity on limiting protests around the elder Bush’s compound in Kennebunkport. Voters there approved a requirement that protesters have to pay for a large surety bond to exercise there allegedly free speech. The ACLU will look at the legality. As kayinmaine put it:

I wonder if Bush Sr. cried after the last protest near his home and this is why the town of Kennebunkport has voted to START CHARGING a fee? He is a crybaby you know! It’s very possible, Babs said to him, “Oh for Christ’s sake George! I’ll contact the town government and tell them to stop the madness! Stop crying!”. Hey, it wouldn’t surprise me! No fascist warmonger likes the idea of opposition and they certainly will tell you that freedoms are not free. Freedom is only for those who have the money to use them and if you cry enough, you can stop any right from being used if you want! See?

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Ideas on Hold Podcast

Ryan and Mike were very pleased that MassEquality has decided to keep fighting for GLBT issues, including marriage equality. Their expertise, good will, fund-raising ability, and accomplishment can be the base for more great work. In that light, it’s positive that GLAD will work to gain rights for legally married homosexual couples, starting with family leave and spousal burial at the Arlington National Cemetery.

We touched on the 1913 laws forbidding out-of-state couples marrying here if their union would not be legal in their home states. It’s long past time to void these bigoted artifacts. A suit by town clerks before the Supreme Judicial Court demands clarity on these and asks for a preliminary injunction to permit these marriages. AG Martha Coakley could make a big statement by quickly responding to the suit that she wants them voided.

We touched on the Boston City Council races and The Laramie Project play in Acton. In the former, at-large challenger John Connolly raised the ire of columnist Howie Carr by not putting his name on a general card saying the truth about Councilor Steve Murphy — that he has desperately been seeking other positions. Furthermore, Mike noted that election turnout seemed dismal – and, apparently, he was right. For the play, the Kansas Westboro Baptist gay bashers stood in the rain to protest. Mike went and enjoyed the play much more than they likely did getting soaked outside.

Posts of the Week

The very timely question of ballot initiatives here caught Mike’s attention. Over at Blue Mass Group, AmberPaw asks Will the intiative process survive in Massachusetts? The post cuts right to the central issue of voting on the SSM amendment but blowing off the health care question. The Supreme Judicial Court just heard arguments trying to force the secretary of state to put the amendment on the 2008 ballot.

Mike has long contended that the initiative process needs overhaul. AmberPaw wonders here that if the legislature can ignore them, “what is the point of them???” Mike is actually concerned about whether we should permit votes on taking away anyone’s rights, but agrees that the way the constitution frames it, the present version lets the legislature avoid a vote. He says clean up the whole process.

Ryan’s Blog ‘o the Week comes from Charley over at Blue Mass Group. It appears as if there may be one decent human being when it comes to environmental issues that (used to) identify with the Republican Party, Mayor Michael Bloomberg. It’s just a quick blog, but I feel it important to note the nominal success stories coming from that Grand Old, Horrible Party – hoping they could catch on when it comes to issues that literally come down to life or death. Bloomberg lectured scoffed at the US blaming China and Company for not going enviro-friendly as their reason for sticking to the old, lets-destroy-the-earth-as-quickly-as-possible ways. Bloomberg correctly notes that’s no excuse and America ought to be the leading example for how we save this Earth.

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